Vermont will soon offer relocation grants for people who move to Vermont to work full-time for a Vermont employer. Currently the Remote Worker Grant Program offers reimbursement grants for relocation expenses incurred in moving to Vermont and setting up a remote work space. The program has so far resulted in 290 remote workers and their family members moving to Vermont since January 1, 2019. You can learn more about the success of the Remote Worker Grant Program by reading the annual report.
The new Relocation Grant Program expands eligibility for reimbursement grants to any worker who moves to Vermont to work full-time for a Vermont employer. Eligible workers can receive a reimbursement grant of up to $5,000 for relocation expenses, or up to $7,500 if relocating to certain parts of Vermont. Reimbursable expenses include moving costs like truck rental and moving supplies, as well as connectivity costs and specialized tools and equipment. The application for the program will open on January 1, 2020.
The Vermont Legislature created the program as a way to provide more opportunities for workers to find work and relocate to Vermont. Below is the enacting statute, Act 80 of 2019.
Sec. 12. NEW WORKER RELOCATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM
(a) The Agency of Commerce and Community Development shall design and implement a New Worker Relocation Incentive Program to award incentive grants to new workers as provided in this section and subject to the policies and procedures the Agency adopts to implement the Program.
(b) Incentives for new workers. A new worker may be eligible for a grant under the Program for qualifying expenses, subject to the following:
(1) A base grant for a new worker shall not exceed $5,000.00.
(2) The Agency may award an enhanced grant, which shall not exceed $7,500.00, for a new worker who relocates to a labor market area in this State in which:
(A) the average annual unemployment rate in the labor market area exceeds the average annual unemployment rate in the State; or
(B) the average annual wage in the State exceeds the annual average wage in the labor market area.
(c) The Agency shall:
(1) adopt procedures for implementing the Program, which shall include a simple certification process to certify new workers and qualifying expenses;
(2) promote awareness of the Program, including through coordination with relevant trade groups and by integration into the Agency’s economic development marketing campaigns;
(3) award grants on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 1, 2020, subject to available funding; and
(4) adopt measurable goals, performance measures, and an audit strategy to assess the utilization and performance of the Program.
(d) On or before October 1, 2020, the Agency shall submit a report to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs concerning the implementation of this section, including:
(1) a description of the policies and procedures adopted to implement the Program; and
(2) the promotion and marketing of the Program.
(e) As used in this section:
(1) “New worker” means an individual who on or after January 1, 2020:
(A) becomes a full-time resident of this State;
(B) becomes a full-time employee of a business domiciled or authorized to do business in this State;
(C)(i) is employed in an occupation identified by the Department of Labor in its 2016–2026 Long Term Occupational Projections as one of the top occupations at each level of educational attainment typical for entry; or
(ii) who the Agency determines should otherwise receive an incentive grant under the Program because the worker possesses exceptional education, skills, or training or due to other extraordinary circumstances; and
(D) whose gross wage for the position equals or exceeds:
(i) 160 percent of the State minimum wage; or
(ii) if the employer is located in a labor market area in which the average annual unemployment rate is higher than the average annual unemployment rate for the State, 140 percent of the State minimum wage.
(2) “Qualifying expenses” means the actual costs that a new worker incurs for one or more of the following:
(A) relocation expenses, which may include closing costs for a primary residence; rental security deposit; first month’s rent payment; and other expenses established in Agency guidelines; and
(B) expenses necessary for a new worker to perform his or her employment duties, including connectivity costs, specialized tools and equipment, and other expenses established in Agency guidelines.